CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc., parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, announced a milestone and massive brand investment years in the making on Tuesday—a fresh start that will focus on physical and digital transformations over the next four to six years, with more than 500 restaurant locations across 20 markets being updated by the end of the year.
The reimaging will focus on holistic renovations, technology advancements, and streamlined operations contributing to improved guest, franchisee, and team member experiences.
The project, which goes beyond the standard exterior franchise makeover, is a first-of-its-kind for the quick-service brands in recent years. CKE, along with its franchise community, will invest $500 million in overall transformations, including $60 million alone from CKE on corporate locations. With 95 percent of all restaurants already committed to the reimage efforts, this will be a priority business initiative for Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s over the coming years.
“The [quick-service restaurant] industry is a game changing and unconventional group to be a part of—brands are constantly upping their game to meet the demands of today’s evolving consumer,” says Matthew Walls, chief global development officer. “CKE is known for having a finger on the pulse of what customers crave and we have continued to innovate our menus to lean into that, but we are the first to admit that our restaurants haven’t kept up. Elevating two brands that are due for much-needed upgrades is no small feat, but one that our team is passionate about. This is just the beginning for the refreshed Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s that consumers know and love.”
Guests and team members can expect to see changes ranging from: new signage, brand statement elements, freshly installed interior and exterior digital menu boards, to upgraded lighting, bathrooms and subway tiling. The market transformation, geared towards making the day to day easier for operators, employees and franchisees, rolled out in Columbia, South Carolina, more than two years ago. At that time, the Columbia market’s sales were outperformed by the system. Now, Columbia consistently outperforms the system.
“This initiative is a revolutionary moment for Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s that is long overdue,” says Chief Brand Officer Chad Crawford. “These transformations are more than a fresh coat of paint. They are about telling our customers, team members and franchisees that they are heard and valued. We think our loyal fans will be excited with the upgrades they will see as Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s continue to be their priority choice for a charbroiled burger, made from scratch biscuit, hand-breaded chicken tenders more.”
This milestone follows the recent launch of CKE’s new loyalty program, My Rewards, available through the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s brand apps. The program, which celebrates loyal customers, puts the most popular menu items just a few taps away and is now available nationally at participating Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. restaurants.
“Our customers are the resounding ‘why' behind all that we do, so the combination of launching our My Rewards loyalty program and the transformations within our restaurants are both a direct result of really listening to them and understanding their needs,” says Crawford. “Through both, we are more excited than ever to take on the challenge of innovation and invest in our customers. At the end of the day, everything connects back to our people.”
CKE’s market transformation efforts have already begun and will continue to roll out throughout 2022, followed by more in the coming years.